Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Become What You Believe - Part 1

As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, "Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!" When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, "Do you really believe I can do this?" They said, "Why, yes, Master!" He touched their eyes and said, "Become what you believe." It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. "Don't let a soul know how this happened." But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.
Matthew 9: 27 - 31 The Message

This is a passage of Scripture that has deeply moved me. Reading this has changed me in a huge way. I constantly read and hear about how Christianity has become ineffective, heretical, and hypocritical. I have to agree. But why is that? What has changed in the body of Christ that has brought this about?

I am convinced that it is because the body of Christ has lost it's focus and energy. And I am also convinced that this short verse is the quintessential answer to the problem.

We have lost sight of what it means to be Christ-like. I know I have and if you're being honest you will have to admit it too. Here is what I mean.

- We believe that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. But do we, and how do we live that out?

- We believe that we are to forgive those who have done us harm. But have we, and why is it so terribly difficult?

- We believe that God's Word is inerrant and is the ultimate authority in our lives. But do we, and why is that becoming such a talking point in "religious circles '?

See what I mean? We just can't seem to live out what we say we believe. There are names for this. Names such as hypocrisy, shallowness, insincerity, duplicity. One could go further and say it is being two-faced, living with double standards, and the big one, a liar. OUCH! The truth hurts doesn't it? I know it hurts me.

So what can we do about this? We need to start talking about this from the pulpit, in the classroom, in our small groups, at the elders meeting. We need to make this the top priority, especially at the individual level! The best and most effective change will come about within the personal relationships we have with Christ.

In my years as a corporate trainer, we used to tell people that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. And we also told them that true change will not happen if it is dictated by those in positions of authority. If a boss (or a minister) hands down an edict that this is what you will believe and this is how you will live and act in accordance with that edict, our first instinct as humans is to question and quite possibly rebel against it. True change takes place in the very heart and soul of a person and that cannot be dictated by anyone.

While I certainly believe that God could bring about this change in us in a wink of an eye, that very seldom happens. It is a process, but not a cookie cutter / assembly line that churns out changed believers one after another. For me, it has become a process that is all encompassing in its scope, unique in its details, and in some respects is never ending.

So how do we become what we believe? More on that in the next part of this blog. In the meantime, pray about this and ask God to reveal to you how you can begin to live out what you believe. I mean really live it out.

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